Morning Briefing: Law firm mergers hit record high in 2015

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Law firm mergers hit record high in 2015
Mergers among law firms in the US continue with pace according to legal consultancy Altman Weil. There were 20 combinations announced in the third quarter of 2015 and 68 in total from the start of the year. That’s the highest on record for the first 9 months of any year since the firm has been compiling data. The firms that are being acquired are typically those with 35 lawyers or fewer in locations that are attractive to medium to large firms. IP boutiques have been popular targets.
International law firm keeps on growing
Global law firm Dentons is continuing to expand with the opening of its first office in Italy. The Milan location is home to 21 lawyers including 7 partners, led by managing partner Frederico Sutti. Sutti is rated as one of Italy’s premier lawyers and was previously managing director of DLA Piper’s Europe and Africa region. Four of the other partners also join from DL Piper with another two from law boutique HELP including its founding partner.
Chinese legal profession is “in constant fear”
Lawyers in mainland China live in perpetual fear of “chats” with the authorities according to a former judge who has relocated with his family to the US. Zhong Jinhua told Radio Free Asia that the police operation in China which targeted human rights lawyers is just part of the story. He claims that the entire profession, even those that do not handle politically sensitive cases, are concerned about their freedom to practice. However there is no imminent end to the situation as he sees it, citing the crackdown on human rights lawyers as his reason for leaving the country.
Hire from Baker & McKenzie in UAE
Omar Momany has joined the UAE office of Baker & McKenzie Habib Al Mulla as a partner in the corporate and dispute resolution practice. He is the second partner hire for the firm this year and the fifth since Bakers merged with local firm Habib Al Mulla in 2013. It brings the firm’s partner headcount to 14.